The early works of George Goularas (under pseudonyms Random or Ray) are striking abstract mosaics; multiple fragmented narratives float and interweave around themes of loss, isolation and madness.
Apart from the fragility of identity, his first films tend to explore the nature of consciousness. Don't Blink (1998, 18 mins), for example, portrays several impaired protagonists from a schizophrenic point of view. The audience is left to witness an aphasic separation of language - visual and aural - and meaning.
His shorts, on a structural level, usually combine an intense meditative compositional style with a precise, agile, almost dyslexic editing technique that functions more on a neurological level than a narrative one. This vivid quality was hinted at by Adrian Martin in an early critique (see Bibliography) of For Xaviera Arabella (1989, 15 mins), and In a Few Words (1989, 9 mins): "His films are severely poetic, severely obscure....films that streaked by, that escape me, that I wouldn't pretend to much 'decipher', films that one hallucinates more than remembers."
George's documentary work has revolved around portraits of young disabled adults (Theatre Games, 2003); and the day to day life of migrant children in an inner city Melbourne primary school (Crayons and Cameras, 2005). Crayons poetically captures the innocence and awe of young children as they learn and interrelate with one another. Striking moments of humour and honesty are evoked in a minimalist fashion reminiscent of early Ozu.
His feature screenplays have garnered much admiration and controversy. His Philosophical horror/comedy about death - The Seven Plateaus of Mock Dementia or Why I Hate Peter Greenaway led the producer Tim White to state, that after reading the screenplay, he required psychological counselling and requested that Mr Goularas should pay for the impending psychiatric bill!
George Goularas' second feature screenplay, A Boy Called Sunday, is a bittersweet comedy/realist drama about an enigmatic and isolated young man with cerebral palsy grappling with his place in the world, as well as with the quiet chaos of his dysfunctional Greek-Australian family.
ABCS was considered the best screenplay in its AFC Indivision round of 2004, and was shortlisted twice for full government production funding. The screenplay's focus on issues of disability, and its alleged mystical subtext, have led the producers to retain creative control and obtain private finance.
The Silent Mangoes (Work in Progress) began as a playful post-modern exercise in fusing theatrical and cinematic techniques in a partly improvised zero budget film. With only an eleven day shoot and a $500 production budget, TSM is quite a unique feature film - part Bugs Bunny, part Beckett. Wonderful performances by young VCA graduates, elucidate the mythic and surreal aspects of conventional narrative as fairytale. The tongue-in-cheek and slightly absurdist tones of Mangoes merge with the dark surrealist world of suburban banality.
The emotional touchstones of Goularas' early work: grief, envy, loneliness, madness, have no longer fractured the formalistic structure of his (anti)narratives. They now exist in a covert mythical guise within an accessible but poetic narrative framework.
In a Few Words
(1989, 15 mins, Super 8)
In a Few
Words (1989, 9 mins, Super 8)
of You (1994, 12 mins, Super 8)
(1996, 6 mins, Super 8)
Blink (1998, 18 mins, 16mm)
Terrorismo (2000, 7 mins, video)
I Can Stop Racism..." (2003, 6 mins, video)
short film with the students of Abbotsford Primary School for
'Cultural Diversity Week' - March, 2003 - organised by SBS Radio.
Games (2003, 22 mins, video)
Collaborative short documentary on improvised acting classes with intellectually disabled young adults.
Crayons And Cameras (2005, 50 mins, DVCAM)
Documentary portrait of the children at Abbotsford Primary School. Sponsored by the City of Yarra, Victorian Multicultural Commission and Collingwood Rotary Club.
The Silent Mangoes (2005, Work in Progress, 100 mins, DVCAM)
Independent Feature Film. A twisted suburban fairytale with a surrealist sting.
Z is for Zenner (2009, 8 mins, digital, unreleased)
After artist-filmmaker Mark C. Zenner died intestate, an acquaintance of his dreamt that Mark gave a clue to the whereabouts of his Will. Zenner's cryptic gift from the collective unconscious didn't lead to a Will (yet...), but it did illuminate one of his secret artistic obsessions; from which issued a film, a visual eulogy of his compelling work.
Finalist 1998 Dendy Awards, Sydney Film Festival
1999 ATOM Awards
minute short play written for the
Melbourne Writers' Theatre.
at Carlton Courthouse - (3-20 July, 2002).
Producer: Ray Mooney.
by 'Beilby Books' in a collection of short plays - 'School:
The Irreverent Reveries'
THE WITNESS (2003)
12 Minute Short Play Shortlisted for the Glen Eira Literary Awards (August, 2003)
The Lint Monody (2004)
15 Minute Short Play Shortlisted for the Glen Eira Literary Awards (August, 2004)
Crayons and Cameras
on Six Secrets", by Adrian Martin, Cantrills Filmnotes,
No. 61-62, May 1990.
Integration: The films of George Goularas", by Bill Mousoulis,
Melbourne Super 8 Film Group Newsletter, Issue 112,
Guide to Greek-Australian filmmakers", by Bill Mousoulis,
George Goularas, May 2009
to Melbourne independent filmmakers index page